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Tobit Raphael's Big Break

The San Francisco native had never been in a movie before he scored a plum role in "The Internship." How'd he pull that off?

Most freshman actor's first film roles are something like "Cheering Soldier in Crowd" (that was Vince Vaughn in For the Boys). San Francisco-born Tobit Raphael, on the other hand, starts his film career this Friday with a sizable role co-starring alongside Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Rose Byrne in The Internship, a movie about hapless Google interns shot largely in the Bay Area. We picked Raphael's brain to try to pinpoint the secret of his lucky break.

Basics: 23 years old, UCLA grad, San Francisco native.

First acting role: "I went to a K-8 school in South San Francisco and we did a show called 'Who's Dying To be a Millionaire?' I was the dead body. All I did was flop over with a knife in my back, but it got a laugh."

First significant acting role: "I did a show at UCLA called English Only. It's about xenophobia, so I got to play a lot of different Asian ethnicities."

First big audition: "I was just trying to get one of those little, one-line parts, but they had an audition to play Yo-Yo [in The Intership]. They called me in for three auditions, the last one to see if I could ad-lib and improv with Vince Vaughn. In an early version of the script, my character mentions writing an admonishing letter to himself and they asked me to make up the letter on the spot. It got a big laugh."

First thing he did after getting the part: "I ran around the house screaming, had some champagne for lunch, then bought some litter for my cat. We were almost out. It was the most celebratory cat litter purchase of my life, though."

First day of shooting: "We were in a huge warehouse with the Google bus and green screens. I didn't know anything about shooting. I would ask 'What's this thing do?' and they'd be like, 'That's cute.'"

First big night on the town: "I'd never been to a strip club before [we shot that scene for the movie]. But I'd had a lapdance before. High school drama class gets a little raunchy."

The Internship opens Friday, June 7.

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